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Former Gov. Orr criticizes UNL for race theory statement

August 9, 2021 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Former Gov. Kay Orr on Monday criticized a statement released by six University of Nebraska faculty and staff members that takes issue with a resolution to bar the teaching of critical race theory from university curriculum.

The resolution was introduced by University of Nebraska Regent and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen. It drew objections from the faculty and staff members, collectively known as the Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equality. The group contended that the resolution stifles academic discussion and debate while purporting to do the opposite.

Orr leveled her remarks at University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green, who did not sign the faculty and staff statement but has spoken out against Pillen’s resolution. The statement was released on a university webpage.

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She said she especially troubled by one passage in the university statement that said, “With the current anti-(critical race theory) movement emboldening white supremacist groups like the KKK, and with defenders of CRT receiving death threats and extreme attacks, the authors may have unwittingly invited those undemocratic and hateful actions in the lives of members of the UNL community, based on misinformation, distortions and fallacies.”

Orr, who has endorsed Pillen in the governor’s race, called the statement “inflammatory” and said the office of chancellor was being “wielded as a weapon against duly elected officials.” She said the university is taxpayer-funded and should “reflect the virtues that are embodied in the minds and hearts of Nebraska citizens.”

A university spokeswoman said in a statement that the group’s message was put out by well-respected members of the university community speaking in their own voices.